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03Sep

 

When it comes to selling your house, the viewer becomes the VIP. Here, we help you prepare for that all-important ‘state visit’.

 

We all have that friend. You know the one. The rarely-seen frenemy who, when they text to say they’re in the area and ‘might drop by’, you drop everything to ensure your home is military-precision perfect.

 

If you are selling your house, this high state of alert can become trying. You need your home ready to bring its A-game every day of the week. Because this visit isn’t simply a matter of pride; it’s about clinching that all important sale.

 

In a perfect world, we would all appreciate a clear day’s notice (preferably when it’s raining outside and we have nothing better to do) to tidy and prepare for a viewing. In reality, in between calendars filled with children, pets and work schedules, we can often be left with mere minutes to get the house spic and span.

 

Below, we have compiled our top six time-saving tips to help speed you through the preparation for these high-profile visits.

  1. Clear spaces

 

Even the largest rooms can look poky when they are overcrowded with everyday clutter. Take a real look around the room you are sitting in right now. What can you see that doesn’t belong?

 

First impressions are crucial, so be sure to give the whole house a thorough ‘sweep’ before your viewer arrives, removing all non-essential items that might distract the viewer.

 

It is important that your viewer has the opportunity to envision themselves living in your home; a task hard to achieve with your toddler’s abstract handprint masterpiece adhered to the fridge.

 

Short on time? Grab a laundry basket as you tour the house, placing errant items in there. Stash the basket in your car until after the viewing.

 

 Top tip: pay attention to bookshelves. They can often be magnets for day-to-day detritus such as hair grips, pens and loose change.

 

  1. What about the children?

 

Now your home is clutter free – it’s time to keep it that way. You love your kids, you love your dogs, cats, iguanas and so forth. The trouble is, your viewer may not.  Ensure that when it comes to that all-important visit, children and animals are kept off premises. A cat jumping on the surfaces will not convey the clean and pristine image you wish to portray of your kitchen to a first-time viewer.

 

Similarly, your attention should be entirely focussed on answering (and pre-empting) your viewer’s questions, not on helping your child to find their football kit or the Wi-Fi password.

 

As with other clutter, remove any pet bedding, where possible, for the duration of the visit.

 

Be sure to do a final sweep for lost Lego pieces under the sofa (viewers have the keenest eyes) and pay a visit to your pets’ favourite corners to check for recent hair deposits and you’re good to go.

 

  1. Selective cleaning

 

With only fifteen minutes to go before the viewing, we aren’t suggesting you do a deep clean of the home, its soffits and facias.  Quite the opposite; the last thing your viewer needs is a nose full of ammonia as they step through the front door.

 

It is important, however, to ensure that any surfaces they are likely to touch are clean and crumb-free. A quick wipe down of the kitchen worktops will suffice.

 

Check mirrors and windows for smudges (if you’re running short on time focus on en-suites and the main family bathroom) and run a damp duster over televisions and computer screens.

 

If you have a log burner, it is often the focal point of the room. Be sure the clean the glass before viewings. The quickest and easiest way to do this is by taking a clean, damp cloth and dipping it in the ash from the previous fire. This will remove even the toughest smears and black soot with minimal effort.

 

 Finally, run the hoover around the floors to remove any loose fluff and fuzz for a smooth and sanitised appearance.

 

 4. Olfactory appeal

 

Falling in love with a home is a full-sensory experience. And just like any first date, it’s important not to over-face the viewer with too much fragrance. The old adage is to bake bread or brew strong coffee, but our fifteen-minute countdown calls for much simpler solutions.

 

Open a few windows to let the fresh air in. This is particularly important in spare bedrooms and lesser-used rooms which can sometimes accrue a stale smell.  If you have stronger odours you need to combat, then consider spraying your fabric sofas, carpets or curtains with a mixture of water and fabric softener (just a few drops will suffice).

 

Quicker still, pop a tumble drier sheet on a radiator and let the gentle scent suffuse the air.

 

Avoid stronger invasive perfumes such as incense or potent aromatherapy candles. Neutral and clean is far more appealing.

  1. Let there be light

 

No matter the time of year, create a sense of cosiness in your home by flicking on the lamps in every room. Again, pay attention to neglected spaces such as studies and guest bedrooms.

 

If your kitchen has plinth lighting, now is the time to let it shine.

Keep a sense of symmetry in your bedroom by lighting both bedside lamps, or even by lighting a candle or two on the dressing table.

 

As well as making your home appear bright, switching on lights helps to make your rooms feel both larger and warmer. 

 

  1. Keep a cool head and a warm hearth

 

Minutes to go before the VIPs arrive. If you’ve opened the windows to air any rooms, now is the time to close them and check the temperature.  The comfort of your viewer will dictate the amount of time they spend in your home – and ultimately whether they feel your house is a welcoming prospect.

 

On warm summer days, keep the air flowing and consider leaving windows open. If it is windy, wedge doors so they don’t bang in the breeze.  Even on the hottest days, your log burner should still be dressed in a cosy and inviting manner. Stack the fire with a few logs and light a candle on the hearth to convey the warmth and comfort it provides, without causing your viewer to perspire.  

In the winter time, pop an instant burning log on the fire for that homely glow. No need to fuss with firelighters when time is of the essence.

Now that the house is ready, play some Einaudi at low volume and spare a minute to check your own appearance in the mirror. You look great! And so does your home.

 

We hope our six top tips have taken some of the worry away, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of viewings, just pick up the phone. We can arrange to chat with you over a cuppa. We’re waiting to hear from you, call us now on 01364 652652 or 01626 852666.

 

27Aug

PARS Letting agent

We are proud to announce that Sawdye & Harris have been awarded Platinum membership of the newly launched Property Agent Rating Scheme (PARS). The scheme has been designed to make the whole process of renting for landlords and tenants as easy and smooth as possible whilst ensuring that all agents are complying with letting regulations. It allows landlords and tenants to easily identify who they can trust to look after their interests.  The private rented sector is now the second largest tenure in England so this goes to show just how important this scheme is. 

Teignbridge District Council have recently launched a new scheme working with local landlords, landlord associations, letting agents, solicitors, and accountants, the PARS scheme is a means of ensuring that all letting agents and property managers comply with letting related legislation.

Designed to be similar to the familiar ‘food hygiene rating scheme’, Property Agent Rating Scheme (PARS) will see participating agents displaying window stickers and certificates at their premises and ratings on their websites. This will enable landlords and tenants to easily identify who they can trust to look after their interests.

 

The need for an effective scheme was identified to make the whole process and experience as simple as possible for both landlords and tenants. The importance of having a scheme like PARS is backed by figures showing the private rented sector is now the second largest tenure in England.

 

For more information and to find out if you letting agent is a member visit - https://www.teignbridge.gov.uk/housing/landlords/property-agent-rating-scheme/about-the-scheme/

 

 

 

06Aug

 

Summer can be an exciting time of year to sell your home, the garden has never looked better and the rooms are bathed in light. To help make your home look its best this season, we bring you five easy ways to style your home for summer.

 

 

  

 

If you’ve chosen summer as the season to move home, we’ve compiled a bucket (and spade) list of top tips to help get your home ‘beach body’ styled for the market.

 

 

Sizzling barbecues, borders buzzing with the soft sound of bees around the lavender and hours of daylight to show off your home at its very best. Summer certainly can cast a positive light on your home, so let us direct you to the sunniest spots and help you avoid stepping into the shadows.

 

 

 

1. Develop a green finger

 

 

In theory, your garden has never looked better.

 

 

Colours are at their sharpest, borders are filled to the brim with healthy shrubs and flowers and the grass is a lush, green baize.

 

 

Summer is the month for uninhibited growth.

 

 

Mow the lawn twice weekly to ensure it remains in peak condition, or on a weekly basis in particularly dry spells.

 

 

For larger lawns, consider creating a feature by adding a diagonal pattern. This is fairly straightforward on rectangular or square lawns. For circular or irregular lawns, begin by identifying a focal point across from the widest point on the lawn before lining up the mower.

 

 

Remember not to mow while the grass is wet, as this could damage the turf.

 

 

Weeds also love the summer sun, so if you are struggling to keep on top of the borders, try adding a thick layer of mulch to keep weeds at bay.

 

 

Consider the garden as an extension of your home, more so than ever in summer. A collection of fragrant herb pots outside the kitchen door can evoke sensory pleasure in your viewer and whet their appetite! Thyme, rosemary and mint are all hardy growers and can be picked up easily at garden centres and supermarkets.

 

 

If you don’t tend to spend much time in your garden, it might be worth taking a tour and identifying peaceful pockets for reading or suntraps you can recommend to viewers. Also, be sure to keep hedges and bushes trimmed back around paths and seating areas so your viewers don’t come across any obstacles during their tour.

 

 

Cat owner? Be sure to check the back doorstep before a viewing in case your feline friend has deposited any ‘tokens of their affection’!

 

 

 

2. Lift the mood with sunny accents

 

 

It’s not necessary to do a full-scale redecoration of your home prior to selling in the summer, but the addition of some sunny accents can lift the mood considerably. After all, nobody wants to step out from the bright sunshine and into a gloomy cave.

 

 

Swap heavier textures, such as velvet throws and woollen rugs, for lighter linens and cottons. Maintain that ‘Hygge’ cosiness with Scandi-style weaves. You don’t need to pick bold colours; billowing Gatsby whites and creams will do just as nicely.

 

 

House Beautiful lists 70s Scandi as the number one trend for summer 2019, quoting the Head of Design at Dunelm, Debbie Drake, as highlighting macramé planters, earthy palettes, geometric prints and accent colours as key picks for this season.

 

 

If all else fails, a splash of bold colour can invigorate any room. A turquoise vase, a yellow cushion or a fuchsia throw are all low-cost elements that can invite a touch of summer into your home.

 

 

Why not get really creative and use a rectangle of artificial grass for your back doormat?

 

 

 

3. The windows are the eyes to the sale…

 

 

Ok, we’ve played with that idiom a little, but for good reason. If eyes are the window to the soul, windows are the eyes to your home…and they are more noticeable than ever during the summertime.

 

 

Windows capture the view from your home, possibly quite a spectacular view, and as such they need to be properly maintained at all times.

 

Summer can be particularly tough on windows; dry spells cause loose dirt to be blown about, heavy pollen counts combined with occasional showers can leave your glazing looking less than dapper.

 

 

Crystal-clear windows not only enhance the natural beauty of your home, they let in more light.

 

 

It’s best to plan ahead with this one, cleaning windows on a hot sunny day is not recommended as they will most likely dry streaky. Instead, pick an overcast day.

 

 

Be kind to the environment and leave the expensive brand window cleaners on the shelves. For really dirty windows, add a splash of vinegar to a bowl of warm water. Begin at the edges of the windows and move towards the middle, rinsing your cloth regularly. After washing, a dry cloth should help to remove any streaks.

 

 

If your windows are palatially sized, don’t be afraid to call in reinforcements from the professional realms. The importance of sparkling clean windows cannot be understated.

 

 

An often-overlooked element in summer house styling is curtains. Heavy drapery can appear imposing during the summer time, so consider taking down particularly wintery fabrics prior to viewings.

 

 

Consider also the neatness of drawstring blinds. A well-placed piece of tape can help to conceal unsightly, dangling cords.

 

 

 

 

4. Make your home a refuge from the heat

 

 

 

When the sun is cracking the flags outside, make your home a place of refuge for your wilting viewers.

 

 

Invest in an attractive glass jug, perhaps a vintage tray and some colourful tumblers, and be ready with the freshly squeezed lemonade on those swoon-inducing hot afternoons.

 

 

Invite some cooling greenery into your home. Peace lilies can survive even the most negligent of owners! For the kitchen, consider a trailing plant such as ivy. In addition to adding an aesthetic element (ivy comes in a variety of yellow, white, green and black hues), ivy helps purify the air of mould and bacteria.

 

 

Another hardy kitchen plant is aloe vera; handy when kept close to the cooker as its gel offers a soothing salve for burns.

 

 

Freshly cut flowers from the garden are a simple and effective way of brightening up the room. Try to match the colour to your room’s scheme. A few sprigs of soothing lilac in a guest bedroom creates both aroma and colour for your visitors.

 

 

 

 

5. Splash the colour upstairs

 

 

Create the ultimate room of refreshment for viewers by ensuring your bathroom is ready for the season.

 

 

An easy way to add a splash of colour is to purchase vibrant coloured towels for the bathroom. Daffodil yellow, coral red and aqua blue all convey that summer-holiday beach-umbrella vibe.

 

 

Match them with a similarly-coloured bath mat and even accessorise your toothbrush for a low-cost makeover.

 

 

Adding pastel tones to the walls such as honey, elderflower and soft sage can also reinvigorate your bathroom ready for the summer season.

 

 

When it comes to styling your bedroom for summer, begin with a de-clutter and spring clean. An overloaded bedroom can be oppressive and off-putting.

 

 

With a blank canvas to work with, it’s time to create a masterpiece.

 

 

Why not invest in a white cotton bedding set? Put practicality to one side and embrace the cool tones and purity of alabaster.

 

 

Burning a Jo Malone Orange Blossom scented candle by the bed in place of a heavy shaded lamp can bring the lightness of the solstice to your bedside table.

 

 

Trade your blackout curtains for wooden shutters, a simple switch that allows you to adjust light levels in the day time and provide you with total darkness at night.

 

 

Tuck your heavy feather duvet away in the bedding box for the summer season, and invest in some Egyptian cotton sheets.

 

 

All that’s left to do now is to apply the sun-cream and sit back and marvel at your handiwork. All in a summer day’s work.

 

 

 

20Jul

 

If you’re now or soon to be an empty nester, why waste money on space you don’t need? If it’s just you and your other half now, or perhaps just you, why not downsize to a smaller home or apartment to save not only on your mortgage but also on utilities, repairs, cleaning time, and more?

 

 

From helping hundreds of people to downsize, we know that moving into a smaller home is not a decision most people take lightly. Even though your home may be consuming more time, effort and money than you want to give it, it’s often an emotional wrench to leave behind a house that’s been a home for you and your family for many years. We understand that.

 

 

Our experience is that most of the best questions can be divided into three subjects: time, enthusiasm and finances.

 

 

Time

 

Choosing the right timescale is important when you’re downsizing. Having your last Christmas in a family home can be a way of coming to terms with a move and giving yourself time to plan it effectively. Pick a date in the future that works for everyone, and work towards it, a step at a time.

 

 

Enthusiasm

 

It’s much easier to look forward to moving when you know where you’re moving to. Whilst it’s tempting to sell first before you view other houses, having your next home in your mind can help keep you motivated and positive about your move

 

 

Finances

 

Plan out the financial implications of your move in detail, including the consequences of achieving a sale at less than your expected asking price. Most downsize moves release equity, and knowing how what you plan to use surplus funds can help to give you a goal to reach for.  Maybe now is the time for that long-awaited round-the-world trip, or to buy a new car. Whatever it is, planning will help make it more of a reality of your home move.

 

  

 

Planning to downsize: your checklist before you sell

 

Having a checklist of what you need to do before you put your home on the market can help you feel in control of your downsize move.  So we’ve put together this short list to help you stay on track:

 

 

 

q  Plan your finances to see the price you need/want from your sale

 

q   Draw up a wish-list and a must-have list for your next home

 

q   Create a Rightmove alert according to your criteria

 

q   Decide on a date to put your home on the market

 

q   Choose three estate agents and arrange consultations with them

 

q   Choose the estate agent you want to work with

 

q   Go through your home and make a list of any outstanding jobs

 

q   Make a list of any accessories to buy to dress your home for photography

 

q   Approve the images for use in your marketing

 

q   Sign-off the brochure once you’re happy with it

 

  

 

Focus on your future

 

 

It’s sometimes an emotional decision to downsize, and usually not an easy one to make. But the benefits of moving on, in every way someone can move on, can often outweigh these difficulties. Finding a new sense of freedom, being closer to family and loved ones, meeting new friends, discovering new hobbies and interests, and the relief of a secure financial future, can all make moving home after a bereavement a new start, in every sense of the word.

 

 

It takes careful guidance and assistance from an estate agent to help someone through this process.  The sale of the house itself is only the tip of the iceberg; the real work comes in the separation process, and a really good agent will not only help make this as smooth a transition as possible, they will also help in the more practical aspects of the move too. They should have excellent supplier contacts to help source someone to help with the home organisation, de-cluttering, storage, packing and moving, and may also be able to help find a new home too. In this situation a really proactive, and genuinely caring professional will be worth their weight in gold, especially if the homeowner doesn’t have close family or friends who could help them.

 

 

Sometimes it feels that deciding to move means you’ll have mountain to climb if you do. Preparing your home for sale, meeting with relevant estate agents, trying to assess the best deal in terms of service, fee and valuation, then choosing images, signing off a brochure, having your EPC drawn up – and this is all before your property actually comes to market. No wonder it feels as if you’re about to embark upon a huge climb.

 

 

But as with any arduous journey, finding the right guide can make all the difference. And we’d love to be your guide, to help you reach your personal moving goal, whatever that may be.

 

 

We’d love to have a chat with you about your moving plans, even if you don’t yet feel ready to move. You can pop us an email at hello@sawdyeandharris.co.uk or call us on 01364 652652. We also have lots more information about selling your home and are here to help smooth your move.

 

13Jul

JUNE HOUSING MARKET UPDATE

 

Check mortgage eligibility online